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Transformers Fan Experience: 10 Things You May Not Know About the Dinobots

Photos by Phil Pirrello

Photos by Phil Pirrello


Transformers: Age of Extinction answers the age-old question, “How cool would it be if Optimus Prime rode into battle on a dinosaur?”

That dinosaur — excuse me, Dinobot — is Grimlock, which fans celebrated en masse over the weekend at the Transformers Fan Experience at Universal Studios Hollywood — pre-gaming it with endless rides on Transformers: The Ride 3D before heading to BotCon 2014.

In addition to a meet-and-greet with Optimus Prime, Megatron and Bumblebee, and a concert from Stan “You’ve Got the Touch!” Bush, the standing room-only crowd was treated to a special look back at the evolution of Grimlock and the Dinobots — from Gen 1 toys to live-action, ILM-powered beasts.

SPINOFF ONLINE transformed and rolled out to the Universal Studios event, and discovered 10 things you may not know about the Dinobots, especially everyone’s favorite shape-shifting T. rex!

OptimusPrime_Truck1. Grimlock made his toy debut in 1985.

2. At the time, the toy was unique to the G1 line because it was the first toy to feature “clear” plastic pieces along with actual metal parts. This design pattern would extend to the entire line of G1 Dinobot toys.

3. In the classic cartoon, Ratchet was responsible for making both Grimlock and his fellow Dinobots. How did Ratchet show off his powerful new robots? By having them harness some kind of energy beam-thing to remove … wait for it … rubble.

4. The Dinobots’ origin story was significantly changed for the popular 2012 video game, Fall of Cybertron. In the game, it was Decepticon Shockwave — not Ratchet — who built them.

5. Grimlock’s signature sword got an upgrade in the 2008 animated series. Instead of being made out of metal, the blade was now one of pure fire. (Kinda like Hiccup’s firesword in How to Train Your Dragon 2.)

6. In addition to Grimlock, the original Dinobot lineup includes Sludge, Slag, Swoop and Snarl. But due to the word “slag” being derogatory slang in the United Kingdom, the character’s name changed to “Slug” for the 2012 game.

7. Fall of Cybertron gave Grimlock the power to breathe energon fire, and Hasbro prides itself on building the game’s Grimlock toy with light piping in the mouth to best replicate the glow of his fiery breath.

8. In early reads of the Age of Extinction script, Hasbro found descriptions of Grimlock and company quite thin. But the one phrase that stuck out and drove the design process? “Barbaric knights.”

9. In the new film, Grimlock’s power set evolves once again. This time, every time the big guy “eats” a Decepticon, he gains their weapons and adds them to his own. (He basically assimilates them into his arsenal, Borg-style!)

10. Grimlock’s aerial-based Dinobot, Swoop, is called Strafe in Age of Extinction. Like Grimlock, Strafe also received some upgrades: He now sports two heads and bladed wings to emphasize the creature as a “living weapon.”

If you missed the event, you can watch the Dinobot panel discussion below, thanks to


  • Waylon Westfall

    Wheeljack made the Dinobots in the G1 cartoon not Ratchet

  • acegozzie

    Umm, this is wrong in the cartoon Wheeljack made the Dinobots, and in the comic Ratchet found the remains of dinosuars who fought, shockwave, and turned them into dinobots.

  • randomitems

    Plenty of figures from the 1894 line had clear plastic parts. Optimus Prime’s truck cab windows, Starscream’s jet canopy, Soundwave’s tape deck cover… pretty much any figure that wasn’t a minibot or casette, really.

  • Scott

    I thought in Fall of Cybertron Shockwave captured and experimented on the Dinobots but he didn’t create them. Optimus mentions Grimlock being missing at the beginning of the game and later it’s revealed that he was capture.

    Am I missing something?

  • Marcus

    Actually, the Dinobots were made by both Wheeljack and Ratchet working together.

  • Benjamin Fail

    The Lightning Strike Coalition, a Autobot strikeforce led by Grimlock become the Dinobots following experiments by Shockwave in FoC

  • Jason Rye

    Sorta right, sorta wrong. The Dinobots in the comic were on the Ark when crashed on Earth. The computer awoke them when it detected Shockwave landing in the Savage Land. The computer gave them their dinosaur modes based on the large creatures it detected there, i.e. dinosaurs. They went fought Shockwave, Grimlock got is voice processor injury that gave him his speech impediment and they all got buried in tar and oil until Shockwave awoke when he detected the other Decepticons and blasted free of his make shift prison. The Dinobots soon followed.

  • bandoogiemanz

    In the 80’s animated series, the original Dinobots lineup was Grimlock, Slag and Sludge. Snarl and Swoop were built later on, right before the original three Dinobots turned on the Autobots.

  • ericsmith

    I was a big fan of the dinobots back in the 80’s and I had comicbook’s of the transformes I kind of like the 80’s trans former back in the day

  • Sentry616

    Me Grimlock am not being neurotypical. Puny Autobots be Checking your privilege.

  • Kevin Weldon

    I thought the 1894 line was mostly wood and brass.

  • Gary

    “Comic Book Resources” makes no mention of the Marvel and DW comics Dinobot lore, and also the fact that Grimlock’s tech specs reflect Furman’s portayal.
    Fall of Cybertron draws heavily from the comics, especially War Within.
    “Amongst the winners there can be no room for the weak”.

    Only Sludge is dumb. Slag and Snarl are both borderline Decepticons. Swoop is the only one you could really call an Autobot.

  • randomitems

    Urgh. Nothing quite like an slipping in an unintentionally hilarious typo when you’re correcting some dude on the internet!

  • DaMak

    Actually… You’re right

  • Michael Howey

    In the cartoon their alt modes were based on dinosUrs from the Savage Land.

  • Michael Howey

    I mean the comic, obviously.

  • bob

    you’re lal saying that how the dinobots were made is wrong when the movie shows optimus prime RIDING grimlock and as far as I know in G1 grimlock would never have let optimus prime ride him ,in G1 he may have respcted optimus and been on the autobots side but he didn’t like optimus

  • Optimus28

    He only let Wheelie ride on him.